After years of failed self-improvement in a number of aspects of life that most people tend to consider important, like organization, time management, and self-motivation, I’ve come to accept some of my flaws while taking advantage of my strengths. I haven’t completely given up on the strive to improve facets about myself that could lead to being a better all-around person, whatever that happens to mean at the time. I just realize that it isn’t in my nature to excel at certain things.
I’ve been trying to motivate myself to get in shape for several years. After college, my stomach assumed a rounder form, and I’ve never found the right combination of motivation and activities to fix this. Over the years, I’ve resigned myself to the idea that I would succeed much better if I had a partner interested in the same goal, sharing the journey towards a healthier lifestyle. But then again, perhaps that’s just an excuse.
At the beginning of the year, I got in the habit of using RunKeeper on my phone to track my outdoor runs, but several weeks of snowstorms prevented this three-times-weekly activity from becoming a long-term habit. When the weather improved, I considered myself too busy with business to take the time to get back outside for a workout.
And then I saw photographs of myself at the Financial Blogger Conference. I decided — again — I needed to do something about my waistline, and this time I was determined to find help. Although it’s not cheap, I decided to join the gym nearest to me. Before doing so, I took a tour. It’s exceptionally clean, and it doesn’t seem to ever be too busy. The equipment is nice; it’s nicer than the equipment I would have purchased for myself was I was considering taking up space in my apartment for an exercise area.
Check out these fees, though.
- Enrollment fee: $69 (but they gave me a “discount” at $49)
- Monthly fee: $19 (first and last months’ payments due immediately)
- Processing fee: $25
- Club enhancement fee: $29 (paid once a year)
- Early cancellation fee: $150 (or balance of the year’s monthly fees, whichever is less)
Although there is an early cancellation fee, it sounded like this fee could easily be waived at the manager’s discretion, particularly if the cancellation is due to moving away from the area.
The typical rationalization for moving forward with the membership despite these fees is that the knowledge of the monthly charges to my credit card account would motivate me for using the service I’m paying for. It’s the same rationalization that parents use for not paying for their kids’ education — the children will be more responsible if they have “ownership” of their education by working to pay for it without assistance.
I also signed up for a free session with a personal trainer. I’ll use the free session to determine if there’s something I can learn from someone else leading me through a plan that would help me reach my goals.
For the most part, gym memberships are traps. People spend a lot of money to join and maintain a membership but often don’t take advantage of the benefits. Did I make a mistake by joining a gym? If you’re a member of a gym, how do you make the expense worthwhile?
Published or updated October 12, 2011.